Metaphor and economic thought

A historical perspective

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    Abstract

    Ever since economists first began to inquire into the nature of what Adam Smith called “the human propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another”, they have resorted to metaphors to make sense of phenomena like markets and money. Rather often, they borrowed ideas from the biological sciences of their time. If we track the evolution of “economic biology” over time, it turns out that most extensions and elaborations of the metaphor carry subtle but strong traces of their approximate historical provenance. More generally, a historical perspective enables one to see the metaphors underlying economic reasoning as flexible and dynamic processes, rather than as fixed and static systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMetaphor and Mills : Figurative Language in Business and Economics
    EditorsHonesto Herrera-Soler, Michael White
    Place of PublicationBerlin, Boston
    PublisherMouton de Gruyter
    Publication date2012
    Pages49-76
    ISBN (Print)9783110272963
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    SeriesApplications of Cognitive Linguistics
    Volume19
    ISSN1861-4078

    Cite this

    Mouton, N. T. O. (2012). Metaphor and economic thought: A historical perspective. In H. Herrera-Soler, & M. White (Eds.), Metaphor and Mills: Figurative Language in Business and Economics (pp. 49-76). Berlin, Boston: Mouton de Gruyter. Applications of Cognitive Linguistics, Vol.. 19